SGA delays jazz festival and Roost reno- vation votes due to budgetary concerns

SGA executive members Estrella Vargas, Emelio Davalos, Esther Pereira, Simone Salter, Emma Kaminski and Jonathon Prehn (left to right) listen to a representative’s opinion regarding budget allocation at a meeting on Thursday, Sept. 29. (Photo by Stefan Carlson)

Jazz Fest funding was postponed on Sept. 29 for the second time due to the Student Government Association (SGA) not understanding its budgets.

During their weekly meeting, SGA Representative Christian Canizal, a Leader staff member, originally brought up feeling uncomfortable spending $10,000 on Jazz Fest when it was stated by SGA Vice President of Finance Jonathon Prehn that there would be $2,000 left in the Contingency Fund after Jazz Fest received funding.

“I don’t think anyone here really knows the budget. And I think that is unfair to the Jazz [Fest], I think that is unfair to us and the students we represent. We don’t know what we are voting for,” Canizal said. “ I just realized it came out of [the Contingency Fund] and that we only have $12,000. So I don’t feel comfortable voting on any situation until we understand the budget.”

Vice President of Administration Estrella Vargas opened discussion of moving money from one budget to another in order to make up for only having $2,000 left in the Contingency Fund.

With all of the confusion about money and what it should be used for, SGA President Esther Pereira added she did not know the numbers either.

“Even me, I’m not familiar with the budget because it’s too many numbers and I try talking to John [Prehn] but sometimes it doesn’t make sense,” Pereira said. “As a representative I think it is important that we know how much is in each [budget] and what we can take off of each one.”

After it was revealed that few were comfortable with spending the money with little information on where the funds were coming from, the intended purpose for each account and how much money was actually in each account, the SGA body decided to postpone the Jazz Fest voting until Oct. 13.

Continuing the conversation on SGA funding, Editor-in-Chief of The Leader Saaniya Ahmed wanted SGA to inform students on the renovation of the Roost.

“We [The Leader] were just concerned because [the Roost renovation] is coming out of student activity funds, that money should be reflective of what students in the community want as a whole”

SGA had put out a poll the previous year to get student feedback about the Roost renovation and the results came back showing the student body wanted the Roost to be improved.

Ahmed asked for SGA to send out a new survey to get more feedback from the new students so there was more representation of the current student body to see if the students were “comfortable spending that money in that way.”

The voting for the Roost renovation will take place on Oct. 13 after a poll has been sent out to the students.

Meanwhile, making Student Organization Representative Training mandatory next semester was brought into question by The Leader.

In response to The Leader bringing up SORT being mandatory or not Pereira said “It’s Important to acknowledge that it is not mandatory now but we are voting on it in December. Just to clarify, we shouldn’t tell that it is mandatory next semester without voting. So don’t dis- close that information because it will not be accurate.”

Michelle Wrzesinski, The Leader’s copy editor, mentioned SGA had said not attending SORT was going to be taken into consideration in whether or not an organization received fund- ing from Co-op.

The initiative and responsibility of an organization that chooses not to go to SORT will be taken into consideration when deciding if funding is provided, Pereira added.

Actual consequences for not attending and making SORT mandatory will be voted on in December.